Title: Here I Am, Honey (1/15ish)
Rating: PG this section, increasing to R or NC-17 in later chapters
Pairings: Klaine, background Finchel (with very little focus)
Word Count: 4,509 this chapter
Spoilers: I'll be making nods to canon throughout, so I'll say "all aired" to be safe, but this is very AU
Warnings: As with the movie, this story does include significant allusions to abortion. Also mild angst and slow burn/buildup.
Summary; When Blaine Anderson visits Kellerman's Mountain Home with his family in the summer of 1963, he isn't expecting anything more than days in the sun and games of croquet, but when he and his cousin Rachel meet the staff dance instructors, his plans get thrown for a loop. Blaine's family vacation might just end up being the time of his life. A Klaine Dirty Dancing AU.
Author's Notes: Title from Solomon Burke's "Cry to Me." Many thanks to my wonderful beta shandyall! Additional notes under the cut, which include mention of a spoiler character.
Hello! Thank you for making it this far. :) Before you start reading, I wanted to mention two important author's notes:
Warm summer air buffeted Blaine’s face as it streamed in through the open windows of his Uncle Hiram’s new Dynamic 88. Blaine had spent the past hour dully watching the scenery of upstate New York slip by, having grown tired of reading and given up any hope of falling asleep long ago. On the radio, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were singing “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” while at the other end of the bench seat, Rachel was humming something completely different, as she often did when the music wasn’t quite to her liking. The discordant sound had driven Blaine crazy when he’d first moved in with the Berrys, but now, after four years, it only registered as background noise.
Background noise that stopped abruptly as Rachel sat up straight and pointed out the window to a roadside billboard. “Look!” she exclaimed. “We’re almost there!”
- // -
After their first dinner in the main dining hall — a busy, noisy affair — Blaine and his family returned to their cabin to unpack. Blaine finished stowing his belongings quickly, as did Hiram, who retired to a comfortable chair in the main room with the day’s newspaper.
Sensing the chance to escape for a while, Blaine changed into shorts, a McKinley t-shirt, and his tennis shoes. Blaine loved the Berrys, and he would never, never stop being grateful for everything they had done for him, but he seemed to crave time to himself more than any of them combined. He’d originally joined the McKinley cross country team to pacify his uncle; now, although his days on the team were over, he’d continued his home training routine. He enjoyed the solitude running afforded him, along with the way that he could push a little farther and a little farther until his legs and his lungs and his mind were completely, utterly exhausted and there was no room for anything else.
“I’m going for a run before it gets too dark,” he announced, heading back out into the cabin’s main room.
Rachel popped her head out from the tiny bedroom next to Blaine’s. “Now? But we borrowed a puzzle from the lodge. Daddy and I are going to start it when I’m done unpacking. We can all work on it together.”
“Maybe I can help when I get back,” Blaine said. “I want to take a look around.”
Rachel pouted for a moment. “Well, don’t be gone too long,” she ordered, disappearing again into her room with a flip of her ponytail.
Hiram, who had tipped down a corner of the newspaper to watch the exchange, smiled at Blaine as he headed for the door. “Don’t go far,” he warned. “I don’t want you getting lost in the woods on the first day of our vacation.”
“I’ll probably just head toward the lodge,” Blaine said, shifting his weight from foot to foot. “Maybe look at the lake. I won’t be long.”
“Have fun,” Hiram said, turning back to the news.
Blaine slipped out the door of the cabin. He paused for a few moments on the porch to stretch, taking deep breaths of the evening air, which was cooling and heavily scented with pine. He clattered down the steps and broke into a jog, heading first along a path that would take him toward the water.
Unfortunately, the sun had already dropped behind one of the mountains, so the lake lay flat and dark beneath a graying sky that was barely suffused with purple. There were few other guests out and about — Blaine supposed that most people were unpacking and settling in, much like his own family was. He jogged steadily, not really pushing himself, falling into a practiced rhythm of breath and footsteps.
As the sky continued to darken, Blaine turned back toward the main house, looming higher up the hill upon which the resort was scattered. By the time he reached it, he was already panting for breath, although he was used to running much longer distances. Blaine dropped into a walk as he reached the stairs up to the building’s huge, wraparound porch. He hoped it was just the altitude affecting him — he didn’t want to contemplate losing his conditioning so soon after graduation.
Blaine paused at the railing, looking out over the dark water, now a bit distant. The sky had lost its purplish tinge, and everything seemed to be waiting for the darkness to wrap it up completely until the morning. Blaine breathed in the scent of the pine forest again, now mingled with the leftover food smells from dinner. Focusing on the former, he took a few moments to bask in the peace and quiet.
It wasn’t completely quiet, though. A distant, whining buzz of a voice kept worming its way into his reverie. It was just quiet enough that he couldn’t make out what it was saying, but just loud enough that he couldn’t ignore it. With a sigh, Blaine broke away from the railing and crept toward a nearby door, which was open to reveal the dining room. Blaine peeked around the frame.
Max Kellerman stood in the center of a small cluster of young men wearing white jackets. Blaine recognized them as those that the waiters had worn at that evening’s dinner service.
“Since we do have several new faces joining us for the rest of the summer, I want to give you all one more reminder,” Mr. Kellerman was saying. He looked around the circle, meeting eyes here and there as though he were trying to drive a point home. “There are two kinds of help here. You’re all college guys. I only hire respectable, college men for my wait staff. You know why?”
Mr. Kellerman paused, but no one spoke. Blaine waited quietly; he couldn’t imagine what the answer might be.
“This is a family place,” Mr. Kellerman continued. “That means you keep your fingers out of the water, your hair out of the soup, and show the goddamn daughters a good time. All the daughters. Even the dogs.” Blaine frowned. “Schlepp ‘em out to the terrace; show ‘em the stars. Romance ‘em any way you want —”
“Got that, guys?” a distinct and unfamiliar voice interrupted, laced with sarcasm. A new group of young men was filing in, and this one looked very different — they were wearing jeans, t-shirts, carrying musical instruments. Instinctively, Blaine shrank back, afraid that they would be able to see him lurking.
“Hold it!” Mr. Kellerman barked as the group made to keep walking through the room. “Well, well. If it isn’t the entertainment staff.” He said it like it was something bad, as though he were referring to the dirt beneath his shoes rather than his own employees.
The group shuffled to a stop and Blaine leaned forward again to get a better look. His attention was drawn first to the tallest of the group, impossible to ignore because he stood several inches above any of the others. Next, his eyes flicked to the young man standing beside him, and all his thoughts about how he would barely come up to the taller man’s shoulders was forgotten.
This was the one who had spoken, and while the man beside him was very tall, he was very — different. He was dressed much like the others in dark denims and a well-fitted green t-shirt, a pair of sunglasses tucked into its neckline. Unlike the others, he was carrying a leather jacket over one shoulder and his hair was impeccably styled, pomped away from his face. His skin was pale and his features were striking, but it was more than just that. It was everything all together, the slope of his neck to his shoulder and the way he stood, defiant as a challenge, but somehow still wary.
Blaine stared, and then caught himself suddenly, realizing that he had leaned farther and farther forward and was almost in plain sight. He snapped back a few inches, his heart pounding.
Mr. Kellerman was still speaking. “Let’s review your own set of rules. First of all, you will knock off the wise ass attitude.” That seemed to be specifically directed to green-shirt-and-leather-jacket, and then he turned to the taller man. “And you will both dance with the guests — teach them the mambo, the cha cha, anything they pay for, but no conversation and no funny business. That goes for all of you. Keep your hands to yourselves!”
Grumbles reverberated through the little group, and most of them started to move by again with rolled eyes. One of them spoke loudly enough for Blaine to hear: “…always the same, maybe a little ass in the woods…”
“Watch it, Peterson,” Mr. Kellerman snapped. He wheeled back around to face the waiters. “As soon as this room is set for breakfast, you’re all dismissed.” Looking flustered, he marched away, heading toward the kitchen.
One of the waiters, looking slyly up from where he had begun folding a napkin, said, “Think you can keep that straight, Finn? What you can and can’t lay your hands on?”
The taller man glowered, but it was green-shirt-and-leather-jacket who spoke up. “I think we all know it’s you that puts your pickle on everyone’s plate, Puckerman,” he scoffed. Blaine’s eyes widened.
The waiter ignored him. “Cat got your tongue, Hudson?”
“Just keep folding, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to us,” the taller man — Finn? — finally retaliated. His hand swiped out, knocking the carefully folded napkins to the ground, before he turned to follow the others.
Blaine hastily moved back from the door, leaning against the wall beside it. He’d long since recovered from his run, but his breath was coming heavily just the same. He stared blankly out at the dark lake for a moment, and then pushed away from the wall to move as quickly and quietly as he could away from the main house. However, instead of following the route that would take him directly back to the cabin, he traced the paths that he’d run earlier in reverse, walking this time, curling his arms around his stomach when he realized just how chilly the night air had become.
Blaine knew who he was; he wasn’t living in denial or ignorance. It didn’t surprise him that he found the young man in the green shirt attractive, but he was surprised by how attractive he found the young man in the green shirt.
On some level, he always knew that things were different for him than for the other boys at McKinley. He wasn’t at all interested in watching the girls in their cheerleading outfits. At Rachel’s insistence, he took her friends to school dances and the movies, and although he’d had fun, there was never anything special about any of those experiences. Instead, he’d had to contend with confusing and embarrassing dreams that he’d instinctively known to keep to himself.
Then, about a month into his junior year at McKinley, everything became crystal clear, in one clean, fell swoop that came completely by surprise. It only happened because he was forced to rummage through the desk in Hiram’s home office. His uncle had been called away to deal with an emergency with a patient, and he and Rachel needed to find the signed permission slips for the field trip that their history class was taking to the Allen County Museum. The task had fallen to him while Rachel finished getting ready for the day.
When Blaine pulled open the second drawer on the right side, he saw it: a slim magazine, its cover dominated by a black and white picture of a man wearing a dark sweater and a white collared shirt. In the upper left corner, under a large block reading “one,” were the words the homosexual viewpoint. He’d heard the word before, just a whisper that no one talked about, an idea not fully formed in his mind, and one that he hadn’t dared to apply to himself. Not exactly. He hadn’t even known if it was real.
Blaine reached for the magazine cautiously, glancing over his shoulder and listening for a moment to make sure that Rachel was still upstairs. He drew it out of the drawer. As he flipped open the cover, a piece of paper fluttered out and landed on the floor. Blaine bent quickly to retrieve it.
Great edition. Really moving story on page 19.
Miss you already.
Blaine stared dumbly at the words, which fuzzed and spun a little. It all meant… it all meant… He dropped both the magazine and the note onto the desk, and then gripped the edge tightly, trying to get a handle on his thoughts. He found that he was holding his breath and forced himself to take in a few gulps of air. When his vision cleared, he found it trained on the magazine’s cover. He lifted it again, flipping weakly through the pages, catching titles like The Homosexual Stereotype and In the Darkness a Strange Angel. Remembering the note, he turned to page 19.
It was titled Letter to a G.I. It was written to a man named Dave, and was from a man named Brian. He couldn’t make his eyes focus enough to read it through from beginning to end, but phrases jumped out — handsome boy, locked in each other’s arms, my love.
“Blaine?” Rachel called. Even though she was still upstairs, Blaine dropped the magazine like it was burning his hands and flung himself away from the desk.
“Yeah?” he shouted back, his voice coming out strangled.
“Did you find them?”
It took him a moment to remember that she was talking about the permission slips. “No… no, not yet.”
Rachel made a frustrated noise. “I’ll help you look in a minute. I’m almost ready.”
“Okay,” Blaine responded. He waited for a moment to give her time to walk back into her room, then hurriedly stuffed the note back into the magazine and the magazine back into the drawer, slamming it shut for good measure. Moving to the left side of the desk, he yanked open the first drawer and found the permission slips on top. He breathed a sigh of relief and rushed out of the office, meeting Rachel on the stairs. “Found them,” he said, holding up the papers.
Rachel snatched her slip out of his hand. “Oh, good! Thank you, Blaine. Are you ready to go?”
Blaine looked at her for a moment, perky and polished and unaware that his world was suddenly spinning upside down and backwards. Now that he’d escaped Hiram’s office, he felt woozy enough that he might fall down the stairs. He was… he was… “You know what, Rach? I… don’t feel well all of a sudden. Do you mind catching the bus today?”
“Oh?” Rachel said, raising a hand to his forehead. “You do look a little pale. You don’t feel warm, though.”
Blaine nodded. “It’s not that. It’s more… more of a headache. I’m — kind of dizzy.”
“But, Blaine — you’ll miss the field trip!”
Only Rachel would care about his missing a visit to an old house to look at a bunch of old documents. “Take notes for me?” he asked. “Especially if there’s going to be something about it on the test?”
Rachel’s face was still crinkled up in concern. “Are you going to call Daddy?”
“I’ll have to so that he can excuse me from school,” Blaine said. “Hurry up or you’ll miss the bus.”
“Okay,” she finally said. “You go lay down. Get some sleep.”
Blaine forced a smile. “I will.”
Rachel backed down the last few steps and toward the door. “I’ll take lots of notes!” she promised, flashing a bright grin. Blaine could already see her warming to the idea of being Blaine’s field trip savior. “It will be just as good as if you had been there yourself.”
With a delighted wave, Rachel pranced from the house to walk to the bus stop.
Blaine had spent that day and the next lying in his bed, alternating between tossing fitfully and staring motionlessly at the ceiling or the wall until his muscles felt like they were locked in place for good. Hiram had been unable to figure out what was wrong, and recommended bed rest, good food (which Blaine picked at), and Anacin (which Blaine gladly took, because his thoughts had grown to a relentless, pounding headache in no time).
It was one thing to suspect, and another thing to know and acknowledge. He didn’t like girls the way the other boys did, and his life would never be the same as theirs. Underneath the sucking whirlpool of his thoughts, he was surprised to find a growing anger. He didn’t need another reason to feel different. There were already enough oddities about him to keep him at arm’s length from the rest of his classmates. His father had brought both Blaine and his mother back from the Philippines after the war, so they all knew that he wasn’t white — not completely, no matter how much he might look like he was. He’d missed half a year of school after his parents had died, which made him the transfer student who was a year older than everyone else. To top it off, he lived with and spent most of his time with Rachel Berry — and as much as Blaine loved her, he knew that Rachel’s attitude hadn’t endeared her to the student population in general.
But more than what it meant for him now, Blaine worried about his future. Over the past few months, he’d been thinking a lot about his goals, which included New York University School of Law and (maybe, some day) a family. Maybe I just haven’t met the right girl yet, he’d told himself. With his head pillowed on his arms and his mind whirling, it made him chuckle mirthlessly. What now? He could still go to law school, of course, but could he really deceive an innocent woman into living a lie? (Like his uncle had done to Shelby? he couldn’t help but wonder.) He knew now that there were other men like him, but that they needed to live secret lives. How would he ever go about finding them? Did he even want to?
Unable to feign illness forever, Blaine got out of bed the next day and went back to school. He thought about quitting cross country, but he didn’t. He thought about quitting glee club, but he didn’t. Those were the things that he liked, the places he felt normal, where a few people called him a friend and meant it. He thought about talking to his uncle, but he shied away every time.
With few other choices, Blaine went back to living his life as it had been since his parents died — he attended classes, studied, ran, and sang as usual, polite and distant from his classmates. But something was always a little different.
And now this, Blaine thought, dragging his feet as he approached his family’s cabin. He’d never had such a visceral reaction before, not to Rudy, the cute star of the basketball team, or Ron, the senior class treasurer. What was so different about the one with the jacket? Maybe he was just becoming more deviant as he got older, Blaine thought gloomily as he climbed the porch stairs. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to see very much of him.
Inside, his family greeted him cheerfully. He faked a smile, washed up, and sat down to work on Rachel’s puzzle.